Ariston FY revenue down 22pct, tea exports drag

Ariston FY revenue down 22pct, tea exports drag

HARARE, December 16 (The Source) – Agricultural concern Ariston Holdings on Friday reported a 22 percent decline in revenue from $11,8 million last year to $9,2 million in the full-year to September, weighed down by low tea production and weak export prices.

The group, however, realised an after tax profit of $124,639 from a loss of $1,7 million last year after $3,3 million in finance costs were reversed following a restructuring of the company’s debts.

The debt restructuring saw the major shareholder Origin Global Holdings convert a $4 million debt into equity. As part of the transaction, Origin wrote off cumulative interest amounting to $3,3 million. The transaction resulted in the reduction of the average cost of debt from 19 percent to 10 percent per annum with reduction in total liabilities from $33,4 million to $30,1 million.

The group’s Southdown Estates contributed $7,1 million to revenue, about 77 percent of total group revenue. Its operating profit however declined from $2,5 million last year to $1,3 million.

In a statement accompanying company results, chairman Alexander Jongwe said tea production had been affected by low rainfall and power outages.

“Export tea prices across all grades were weak in the period under review, affecting tea contributions to the group’s financial performance. Tea sales volumes were down 12 percent to 652 tonnes,” he said.

“Predictions on the world market are that tea pricing will continue to be soft on the back of high tea production and subdued demand from major consumers.”

Claremont Estates revenues dropped 44 percent to $1,1 million compared to $2 million in the prior year.

Kent Estate revenue dropped by nine percent to $1 million and operating loss narrowed from $900,000 in the prior year to $500,000.